After the Constitutional Court declared the suspension of holiday bonuses illegal, Prime Minister Passos Coelho said that instead of asking for an extended deadline for achieving the budget goals, Portugal will have to redouble its efforts to reach its targets.
The Portuguese government will not ask for an extension of the bailout programme even after a high court declared unconstitutional one of the main measures enacted to achieve next year’s deficit goal, said Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho on Sunday, quoted by news agency Lusa.
“The country’s objectives are now harder to accomplish” admitted the prime minister during a speech at a rally celebrating the 38th anniversary of the Social Democratic Party’s youth wing on 7 July, adding nonetheless that “renegotiating everything” and asking for an extension of the €75bn bailout programme from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund was not the solution.
The Constitutional Court declared the suspension of holiday and Christmas bonuses in the public sector as unconstitutional last Friday 6 July, stating it violated the equality principle. The government has now been forced to come up with other equivalent measures which will be deemed constitutional.
According to Lusa, Pedro Passos Coelho said the government would come up with new measures and present them in the new national budget for 2013, usually announced by mid-October, without revealing what measures it is considering. The prime minister only said that no further cuts to public spending will be implemented if services in the health and education sectors are not to be placed at risk.
But don’t ask me to double that effort [in the health and education sectors] in a year because if that happens we will be putting at risk our security and the quality of our services,” Passos Coelho said.
Instead of asking for an extension of the deadline for achieving the budget goals, the prime minister said: “we will have to redouble our efforts and attention to reach our goals”.
Photo by António Cotrim, Lusa
We need to find new ways of adjusting our public deficit and we will, but we would appreciate it if there was less demagoguery surrounding this topic and that each person took up their responsibilities and said what they propose in order to maintain the goals that have been set”.